Forget take out! This sweet and sour fish recipe is super easy to make yet so tasty. Bite-sized fish are fried to golden perfection and then tossed in a sweet, tangy, and sticky sauce with colorful bell peppers for a flavorful dish!
Sweet and sour dishes trace their origin from Chinese cuisine with the original sweet and sour sauce said to have come from Hunan, a province in China. It was a combination of light vinegar and sugar and was initially used as a condiment or dipping sauce for meat and fish rather than cooking.
While entire fish might present better in a banquet, this version is easier to eat without the troublesome head and bones to pick through.
What you’ll need
- Fish– the recipe uses tilapia fillets as they’re meaty and relatively inexpensive. Any white fish with firm flesh such as catfish, cod, bass, or dory are also good options.
- Soy sauce– marinates the fish to lend a savory boost of flavor
- Flour and cornstarch– creates a golden, crispy crust
- Beaten egg– helps the breading stick
- Oil– use oil with a neutral taste and high smoke point such as canola, safflower, grapeseed or vegetable oil
- Bell Peppers– adds color and texture. Feel free to use a mix of red and green bell peppers for more vibrant presentation
- Pineapple Juice– adds a fruity sweetness to the sauce
- Rice Vinegar– type of vinegar made from fermented rice and has a mild and slightly sweet flavor. In a pinch, you can use apple cider vinegar as a substitute.
- Ketchup– tomato ketchup was used in this recipe. If using banana ketchup (which is usually sweet), I suggest mixing the ingredients for the sauce together except the sugar and then add the sugar according to your preference.
- Brown Sugar– has a less concentrated sweetness and contains molasses. If using white granulated sugar, adjust amount to taste
- Cornstarch– thickens the sauce
- Salt and pepper– season to taste
- For the best crisp, maintain oil at the optimal temperature of 350 F to 375 F when deep-frying. Too high and the outside coating will burn before the inside is thoroughly cooked; too low and they’ll absorb more grease.
- Do not overcrowd the pan and fry in batches as needed to keep the oil temperature from plummeting.
- You can also add pineapple chunks along with the bell peppers for the extra flavor and texture.